Cloud Tattoos are a popular tattoo design, especially on a tattoo sleeve and it’s certainly easy to understand why. The length of the arm provides a wonderful canvas for rolling or waving clouds to be spread across. A cloud tattoo forearm sleeve is a decent sized area for a concentrated cloud tattoo and it will be shown off a lot as forearms are a highly visible area. Not only do cloud tattoos look beautiful on their own, they also look good with other elements that add specific meaning to the tattoo for the individual.
So, what does a cloud tattoo mean and what goes with a cloud tattoo?
Cloud tattoos have an array of different meanings depending on faith, cultural beliefs, personal beliefs, anything really, so are a great choice for symbolism and personal expression.
Traditionally, the broad meaning for cloud tattoos are positive, representing personal growth, transitions and transformations.
Clouds & Angels:
The pairing of clouds and angels is probably the most common type of cloud tattoo design that people don, especially people of faith. It is a wide belief that people who have passed on become angels in heaven, so many people get this tattoo in memory of their loved ones. Angels also are viewed as guardians, so this tattoo design could also be representative of a guardian looking over someone from heaven.
Clouds & Cross:
Similar to clouds with angels, clouds with a cross are also very popular and represents more specifically one’s strong believe in Christianity and Jesus. In some sects of Christian religion, it is said that Jesus died on the cross for mankind, so the cross symbolises sacrifice and also the passing of a loved one. For someone of the Christian faith, this is a meaningful and powerful tattoo.
Chinese Cloud Tattoos:
In Chinese culture, clouds represent transformation and transition. A cloud tattoo could represent overcoming challenges in the living world, but also signify the passing of a loved one, a transition from the living to the spiritual world. Chinese cloud tattoos commonly include literature characters or animal symbols relating to transformation and transition, such as the auspicious dragon. Taking a slightly different perspective, the Zen believe that clouds represent constant change, detachment and impermanence of life.
Japanese Cloud Tattoos:
Japanese cloud tattoos are also a very popular design, especially in the western world. The clouds are abstract with bold dark waves and elements of intricate detail that look striking as a tattoo sleeve. The Japanese belief that clouds represent a fierce horizontal trail of the past obstacles and challenges that lift has dished out and the overcoming of this hardship, which transforms the individual into a wiser and stronger person.
Dark Heavy Rain Cloud Tattoos:
This cloud tattoo design can represent the positive and the negative simultaneously, however we like to think of it as more positive. Dark clouds can be symbolic of a challenging time that has led to the birth of something beautiful that would not have been possible without the dark moments. They also represent the fact that dark moments come and go throughout life, but after every hardship you make it through stronger.
It is common to see umbrellas with cloud tattoos too, resounding the literal meaning of blocking oneself from the rain. They make for cute flash style tattoos and can be a key element of a cloud tattoo forearm sleeve.
Clouds with Thunderbolts Tattoo:
Clouds with thunderbolts through them mean rain, when lightning strikes a cloud it rains. Rain is the much-needed water source that the world needs to keep thriving, so this particular design represents growth, rejuvenation and fertility.
As you can see, cloud tattoos are a versatile choice as they can be interpreted and represented in a plethora of ways and you can design one that is meaningful to you.
Cloud tattoos can be done in a vast range of ways depending on the theme and design. The most popular way to tattoo clouds is through shading, especially on the faith-led biblical designs. Conversely, Japanese, Chinese and tribal, cloud tattoos require a completely different technique as they have strong defined lines, block colour and bold designs. It is also common to see cloud tattoos in free hand and cartoon-like flash designs, as well as a the increasingly popular realistic cloud tattoo using water colour tattoo techniques.
Have a look through our carefully curated collection of the best cloud tattoo forearm sleeve designs out there for inspiration: